07/19/2014 06:28 EDT | Updated 09/18/2014 05:59 EDT

Malaysia Airlines Crash: John Baird Calls For 'Credible And Unimpeded' Investigation


OTTAWA - The Canadian government has joined those calling for a "credible and unimpeded" international investigation into the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued a statement today demanding that pro-Russian forces immediately withdraw from the crash site.

Baird says Ukrainian and international authorities should be allowed to freely conduct their investigative and forensic work.

He says it's become increasingly clear the crash was the result of an "outrageous crime."

The plane was shot down on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board, including one Canadian.

A team of 30 international observers has arrived at the site but say their access to the wreckage is being severely limited by the pro-Russian rebels who control the region.

Baird's statement was issued following a phone conversation between Baird and his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop.

Australia, Malaysia, the Netherlands are among those who have called for an international investigation into the crash.

Baird said evidence of "Russian financial and material support to illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine is both clear and compelling."

U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday the U.S. believes the plane was brought down by a surface-to-air missile launched from an area controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists.

Baird was also in contact with his Dutch counterpart Frans Timmermans to express his condolences on the loss of life of so many Dutch citizens in the crash.

He offered Canada's support in any investigation and repatriation of the dead.

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